The Saturday Club : SPICES, Repulse Bay (and Tin Hau Temple)

I wish I could write a more glowing review of Spices, since so many people were looking forward to this lunch. As it happens, I am writing this after the event since I managed to get hit with a horrible stomach flu the day after we dined there. Since the food was absolutely delicious, at first I thought that perhaps it was my intolerance to oil wreaking havoc on my stomach. In the days that followed I realised that it was indeed a stomach flu bug which only I managed to pick up. Whether this was from an A/C vent at an apartment I’d viewed in the morning, or my lack of exposure to children (there are lots of families that go to Spices), or just bad luck, whatever the case I managed to get a six-pack-worthy stomach workout out of the whole experience, but it did unfortunately damper the memory of the day itself. 

 

The day that we went to Spices was blisteringly hot – just before Typhoon Usagi swept lamely through town, wreaking no havoc on anything whatsoever. (Maybe all the chaos went to my stomach instead…). We sat outside, which was glorious but in hindsight made me think this restaurant is a better choice for the slightly cooler months of the year. The heat made us a bit natty and after forty minutes at the table, a minor argument erupted between my boyfriend and I over the fact that I was having to wave my arms around for extended periods to try and get attention of the waiters wandering around with their eyes down – just to get our water glasses filled on this scorching day. He thought it was terribly impolite of me to be so demanding and I thought it was best that we didn’t die of dehydration while waiting a thousand years for our food to arrive. (Which, in the sweltering heat, having to regularly bother the waiters to refill our basic water glasses – was what it felt like.)
I’ll admit that I was a little grumpy (I don’t deal very well with my organs broiling) but it was bad service on the water front, especially on such a hot day.
All of the orders seemed to be slightly slower than other restaurants, though not remarkably so. Just in a small town kind of way. The fresh fruity blended ice drinks were a refreshing treat to start with, and the starters were all very tasty.
Many people have asked what kind of food Spices serves. The answer is that it serves all kinds of spicy foods from all different spicy regions of Asia. We had starters of salmon naan, thai spring rolls and rice paper rolls and when the mains arrived they were also excitingly varied – nasi goreng, skewers, spicy beef noodles… Though the spicy beef noodles were requested without spice, and arrived extremely spicy, so that was yet another fail. Putting the failings of this bumbling friendly restaurant aside, there is a very good reason why it is as well known as it is. The food is delicious. Hearty, tasty and suitable for all types of eaters. If you’re vegetarian or paleo you’ll be able to find something to keep you happy here. Even I was able to enjoy the skewers, naan and nasi goreng – and I am unable to eat any spice or chili at all.
I imagine that it would be really fun to come here at the end of autumn, just before winter hits, and gobble up a warming spicy plate of food with friends. And you must come with friends or family because the servings are enormous in sizes. One plate could definitely feed two people easily – so I’d advise sharing. We eventually had to share because barely anyone could finish their own plate of food! In that way it is a very nice experience with friends – asian style dining on a gorgeous western terrace by the bay. And my demands for attentive service aside, it is a place that I could definitely recommend to anyone seeking a relaxed meal while visiting Hong Kong or wishing to spend a gorgeous lazy day in a strikingly beautiful setting at one of the most heard-of restaurants in Hong Kong. 

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Tin Hau Temple – this was a wonderful visit, so ornate and unique, and would have been incredible if not for the unbearable heat. The temple is not too big but the main feature is that it is nestled in the rock and has a beautiful pier reaching out into the water, with bridges and pagodas and sculptures adorned with pearls and carved stones proclaiming every new addition to the temple. It’s definitely worth a visit! I’ve taken a lot of photos since it is far too gorgeous and unique to try and fully describe in writing. 🙂 

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